Taiwan opposition leader urges ‘breakthroughs’ in China ties

Taiwan opposition leader urges ‘breakthroughs’ in China ties

Thu Nov 3, 2016 6:34PM

Taiwan’s opposition leader has emphasized the need for “breakthroughs” in relations with China as she concluded a five-day visit to Beijing.

The delegation led by Hung Hsiu-chu, leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) party, left Beijing on Thursday afternoon.

“Under current cross-Strait atmosphere, we believe breakthroughs must be made [in China-Taiwan ties], which we think is a duty that the KMT is responsible to carry out,” she said.

The KMT head added that the visit to China “is pretty good with a lot of gains, which we believe will benefit the peaceful and stable development and mutual communications across the strait in the future.”

Many say the KMT delegation aimed to ameliorate broken ties between Taiwan and Beijing.

Beijing cut an official communication mechanism with Taiwan in June, after Beijing-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took the helm and refused to commit to the “One China” principle that says Taiwan is part of China.

Tsai, in fact, has neither endorsed nor repudiated the “One China” concept; however, she has said her government would not “bow to pressure” from Beijing.

Beijing distrusts the DPP because it traditionally advocates independence for Taiwan, which China deems one of its provinces.

During her meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week, Hung said both parties should enhance communications on the basis of the so-called “1992 Consensus”, which acknowledges Taiwan and China are part of a single China, but allows both sides to interpret who is the ruler.

Under an agreement reached in 1992 between Beijing and Taipei, both sides acknowledged the existence of a single Chinese nation, which is comprised of both Taiwan and the mainland.

A spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office reaffirmed on Thursday that Beijing would oppose any steps toward Taiwanese independence.

The two have had no formal cross-strait diplomatic relations since they divided politically, following the end of Chinese Civil War after 23 years in 1950.

Ties, however, improved between them under the government of former president Ma Ying-jeou, who embraced the One-China concept.

China and Taiwan are physically separated by the Taiwan Strait in the Western Pacific Ocean.

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